Students set to study in Sweden

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The first cohort of Washington State University students participating in an integrated research and study abroad program in high-performance computing will head to Sweden this fall. 

Participating students, who are juniors and seniors in engineering, computer science, and mathematics, include John Bussey, Liam Crafton, Clara Ehinger, Emma Johnson, Arlo Jones, Christina Lansing, Ethan Peterson, and Sejal Welankar. The students come from four WSU campuses: Pullman, Tri-Cities, Everett, and Vancouver.

The students will each receive a $12,000 fellowship and will spend the fall semester at Linköping University (LiU) aninternationally-ranked university that emphasizes multidisciplinary research and manages Sweden’s National Supercomputer Centre. The exchange and research program between WSU and LiU will emphasize a computing-based design philosophy that supports development of Boeing’s and Saab’s new T-7A Red Hawk training aircraft, which is an advanced pilot training system for the U.S. Air Force.

In Sweden, the WSU students will complete research projects on the application of computer-based simulations and mathematical algorithms to predict the performance of physical systems. Through this experience, they will learn how computing-based designs can lower development costs, increase first-time quality of prototypes, and decrease time to bring complex systems, such as aircraft, to markets. In these projects, the WSU students will collaborate with LiU students, who will then complete an exchange semester at WSU next spring. The WSU students will also take courses at LiU in English and then transfer their academic credits toward their WSU degree requirements. 

“It means so much to represent WSU abroad in Sweden,” said computer science student Emma Johnson. “I’m honored to get the opportunity to learn more about the Swedish culture while researching in my field.”

The three-year program is funded by the National Science Foundation’s International Research Experience for Students (IRES) initiative, the European-Union Erasmus+ program and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. Boeing and Saab also support the program, advising the students on aerospace-related scientific computing projects and providing mentorship. Students will be able to participate in company site visits and internships. Beyond expanding their research skills and widening their professional network, the scholars will also take part in arranged cultural activities, so that they may also learn about the cultural, economic, historical, and social aspects of Sweden and its people.  

“This program provides a unique opportunity by integrating a study abroad semester and a research experience,” said Joseph Iannelli, director of the program and a professor of Mechanical Engineering who has been leading global-engagement initiatives with European universities. 

“Stemming from WSU’s core strategic belief that WSU should engage globally for the future of the planet, this program contributes to prepare diverse students for a world and workforces that are multicultural, global, and interconnected,” he said. “I am very happy and excited for our students.” 

“This new Linköping University-WSU partnership is an exciting opportunity to expand the opportunities for students across the WSU system to engage in high-impact practices such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and peer mentorship,” said William B. Davis, WSU’s interim vice provost for academic engagement and student achievement. “Participation of WSU students in these international partnerships will expand their opportunities to become both global citizens and 21st century leaders.” 

The students will be supervised by Jan Nordström, a distinguished professor of computational mathematics, and Andrew Winters, a WSU alumnus and assistant professor in computational mathematics at LiU. 

“I hope to make lasting connections through this exchange and further collaboration across our universities,” said computer science student Sejal Welankar.

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